Last night’s 5-2 win over the Astros extended the Los Angeles Angels winning streak to 10 games. Mike Scioscia‘s team has soared past the Oakland Athletics and taken control of the American League West. Their magic number to clinch the division is down to five.
Scott Feldman did a nice job of slowing down an Angels’ offense that had been averaging nine runs per game over the last nine contests. A pair of Mike Trout homeruns accounted for the only two runs scored against the Astros starter in his six innings of work. But the bullpen couldn’t stop the Angels’ red-hot offense and Feldman was hung with his eleventh loss of the year.
The Angels go for the sweep today in a 3-game series that has been a classic matchup of good hitting versus good pitching. Over the last couple of weeks, Astros starting pitchers have been just as hot as the Angels hitters. In fact, the only two losses suffered by the Angels in their last 18 games came against the Astros’ Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock. Coming into this weekend’s series in Anaheim, Astros starters had combined for a 1.95 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over the last ten games.
Dallas Keuchel gets the starting assignment in this afternoon’s series finale. Keuchel leads the Astros in wins, complete games, and innings pitched, but hasn’t posted a victory since July 30th. In seven starts since that complete game win over Oakland, Keuchel’s numbers have been good (3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP). Dallas is still averaging almost seven innings per start during that span, but the lefty hasn’t been as dominant as he was earlier in the season. Still, Keuchel has done a good job of keeping his team in those games. Despite his 0-2 record, the Astros have won four of those seven games.
Keuchel continues to get ground balls at a league-leading rate, but he has fanned only three batters in each of his last three starts. Having already exceeded last years innings pitched total by more than 30, fatigue could be a factor for Keuchel.The Astros recently added Nick Tropeano to the rotation and are going with six starters for the remainder of the season. Consequently, Keuchel makes today’s start on six days rest. Hopefully that turns out to be a recipe for victory.